Swift Six – Author – P A Wilson – Fantasy/Heroic Tales Bundle

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Here’s the first author interview from the Heroic Tales Bundle

Name: P. A. Wilson

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?

I love stories that all you to break the rules and then glue them back together. Creating a world where I control how things work is fun and challenging. When it comes to magic, people sometimes think any problem can be solved with magic, and that means there’s no real story. I think in a good fantasy tale, there needs to be a cost of doing magic, something that will restrain the wizard, witch, fairy, whatever creature is in the world, from simply pointing a wand and getting what they need.

In my fantasy, I tend to make the rules either a resource issue, you can’t use magic all the time because you use up something, or I make it ambiguous. Yes, you can get your answer, but it’s not going to help much.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?

I’m always learning new things. I think that’s the advice most people miss at the beginning. Writing isn’t a ‘learn it and you’re good to go’ kind of thing. Every book is different and my process changes a little each time. Other than the fact that I need a loose outline that is.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose?

If I had to choose one, I would dine with Isaac Asimov. The conversation would be me fangirling out and him explaining how he was able to be so prolific.

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?

Anne McCaffrey. Her Pern books enthralled me when I first read them; excellent world building, excellent characters. When I started to write my own stories, I often re-read her books to find her techniques.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?

I think we have yet to see the final and ‘perfect’ method of storytelling. Ebooks are convenient, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that people read more when they choose ebooks. As authors, we love to hear people are reading more. But print, both soft and hard cover, are different experiences. People like to feel the weight of the book in their hands, smell the ink and paper, and feel like they own something.

What I do see right now, is a segmenting of the market into people who only read digital, people who read either format, and people who only want print. The market is big enough to carry both.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

The Dragonriders of Pern, I never seem to get tired of reading them. The Pillars of The Earth, Ken Follett, the way he deals with complexity and the epic scope of the work means I find new things every time I read it. The complete works of William Shakespeare, maybe on a desert island I will finally get time to read all the plays and sonnets.

Author bio and book synopsis

Perry Wilson is a Canadian author based in Vancouver, BC who has big ideas and an itch to tell stories. Having spent some time on university, a career, and life in general, she returned to writing in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since. She writes the Quinn Larson Quests an urban fantasy series, the Charity Deacon Investigations, and two science fiction series. A member of the Royal City Literary Arts Society, the Vancouver Writer’s Social Group, and the Surrey Writers Group, she spends much of her time creating new books, and learning the craft.

 

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

I write in multiple genres, currently focussing on Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Mystery, and Science Fiction. You can find a list of my current books on my website at pawilson.ca

Links

Website: https://pawilson.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPAWilson/

Twitter: @perryawilson

 

Heroic Tales can be found here

BundleRabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/heroic-tales

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/heroic-tales

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2u33Tfd

I books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1257100962

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073T45HYB/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T45HYB/

Heroic Tales - Bundle Rabbit

New Release – Tears and Crimson Velvet #Phantom #shortstory #horrorfantasy

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Here’s today’s news:) I am delighted to announce the release of my latest short story – Tears and Crimson Velvet – a short story based (loosely) on the characters and events in Phantom of the Opera.

The latest Legacy of the Mask Tale features Madam Giry, a much underrated and misunderstood character.

Giry finds herself embroiled in the tragedy unfolding at the Opera house; mystery and murder stalk the corridors and, it is said, a ghost haunts the place. Giry knows the truth, for she recalls the caged man she met so many years ago. This is her story, their story.

When murder and mystery begin at the Opera House one woman knows who is behind it, and what really lies beneath the mask. Secrets, lies and tragedy sing a powerful song in this ‘might have been’ tale.
A short, tragic tale based on characters from Phantom of the Opera.

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073TMFF9M/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TMFF9M/

 

Adventures in Marketing – Bundle Rabbit II – Heroic Tales #Fantasy

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You may remember my previous post about Bundle Rabbit – the online book bundling service. I now have The Light Beyond the Storm – Book I featured in a forthcoming bundle. Heroic Tales features 19 tales of fantasy and heroes, brave deeds and daring adventures.

Heroic Tales - Bundle Rabbit

Synopsis

Imagine: you are seated about a blazing campfire, you and the other bards.  Tales of Achilles, Beowulf, Alexander, Odysseus, Conan, Tarzan, Joan of Arc and other heroes are told, along with new ones that carry on with the Jungian archetypes so central to our very nature.  Men and women who brave the unnatural, the fantastic, and the plain weird.

Without the circle of firelight, shapes of menace and strangeness stalk horrifically, but the heroic tales hearten us, and strengthen the entire tribe in both body and spirit to continue the battle of good and right, against the strange and evil.  We all have the need, deep within us, for Heroic Tales!

It’s quite a mix of tales from Jay Bowers, Stefon Mears, N.W. Moors and Jerusha Moors, Michael Kingswood, Carl S. Plumer, J. D. Brink, Louisa Swann, Xina M Uhl, Robert Jeschonek, Blaze Ward, Douglas Smith, Robert Jeschonek, Perry A Wilson, Debbie Mumford and Leslie Claire Walker.  For details of each book please check out the Bundle (as we will be overrun with links).
Table of Contents
1. “A Barbarian in Chicago” by Simon Stanton
2. “Lair of the Wulf” by Simon Stanton
3. “With a Broken Sword” by Stefon Mears
4. “Icarus Rising” by N.W. Moors
5. “Lee and the Monkey Idol” by Jay Bowers
6. “Glimmer Vale” by Michael Kingswood
7. “Afterlife” by Jay Bowers
8. “Shadows of Death” by Carl S. Plumer
9. “The Quest” by J. D. Brink
10. “The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I” by A. L. Butcher
11. “The Girl with the Candy Cane Legs” by Louisa Swann
12. “Necropolis” by Xina M Uhl
13. “The Sword That Spoke” by Robert Jeschonek
14. “The Forestal” by Blaze Ward
15. “The Wolf at the End of the World” by Douglas Smith
16. “The Wife Who Never Was” by Robert Jeschonek
17. “Family” by P. A. Wilson
18. “Witchling” by Debbie Mumford
19. “Faery Tales: Volume 1” by Leslie Claire Walker

It’s due out 11th July – on Bundle Rabbit, Kobo, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 19 books for less than $5 – now that is a bargain right there!

BundleRabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/heroic-tales

Heroic Tales on Kobo

Heroic Tales on Barnes and Noble

Heroic Tales on I-books

Heroic Tales on Amazon.co.uk

Heroic Tales on Amazon.com

 

Heroic Tales - Fan set.pngHopefully there should be some forthcoming interviews with authors and characters for this bundle – so keep your eyes peeled for those.

 

 

Book Spotlight and Release Blitz for Mean Girls – Erotic Romance/Audio

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Mean Girls by Lucy Felthouse Now Available in Audiobook Format! #audiobook #audible #romance #BBW #Rubenesque

Lucy Felthouse’s Rubenesque erotic romance novella, Mean Girls, is now available in audiobook format. Narrated by voice artist Xanthia Bloom, you can now listen to this sweet and sexy curvy girl tale on the go!

Mean Girls Blurb:

Adele Blackthorne is a big girl, a curvy chick. She knows it, and she’s been picked on all her life because of it. But she’s gotten to the stage where she doesn’t care. She may be Rubenesque, but she’s healthy, too. Much healthier than the mean girls at the leisure center that point and stare and say spiteful things about her. Adele rises above it all, and simply enjoys her secretive glances at the center’s hunky lifeguard, Oliver.

As the bullying of Adele becomes worse, Oliver finds it increasingly difficult not to intervene. He doesn’t want to get into trouble with work, but equally he can’t stand to see Adele treated in such a horrible way. Especially since he doesn’t agree that she’s fat and unattractive. He thinks she’s a seriously sexy woman, and would like to get to know her better. Much better.

Audio links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2sFENhc
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2szphZ8
Audible UK: http://adbl.co/2spsB4I
Audible US: http://adbl.co/2tIoBQX
iTunes UK: http://apple.co/2tpm9vW
iTunes US: http://apple.co/2upu64o

eBook available here: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/mean-girls/

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves and Hiding in Plain Sight. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 160 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter and get a free eBook: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

 

Release blitz hosted by Writer Marketing Services.

Swift Six – Author Samir Karimo – Supernatural/English Language

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Name: SAMIR KARIMO

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?

I like to create different worlds, namely strange and surrealistical ones with known characters which try to attract the audience. I have a strange relationship with the reader, I like to play with him/her, e.g. I like to try them to question about things, even the smallest ones and that’s why most of my stories are flash stories. In those short stories I try to synthesise my conception of horror, science-fiction and terror.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures? First of all, follow your dreams, whatever they are and try to have a certain writing style. People will always criticise the way you write but it’s important to create your own style with your features. When I began I wanted to write grammatically well but now I want to have a style of my own.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose?

Pirandello, Unamuno and Pessoa due to their idea about the being, not being and the different characters we assume every day. Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hide, Adriano Meis, Sheherazade from Arabian Nights without doubt and Ramayana’s Valmiky.

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?

As I have mentioned, on one hand I was deeply influenenced by Pirandello, Unamuno and Pessoa. Their ideas are still updated and even today we don’ t know how to interact in society…. I like that idea of double personality, the heteroynms  and ortonyms, on the other hand, as you read the book, you’ll find references to Indian mythology, Nordic folklore and also D.Juan’s Myth.  Kafka also, there’a flash story, DAMNED WORDS which looks Kafka’s  IN THE PENAL COLONY. But I have also a muse called Reyam  who inspires my work. Besides I have a text dedicated to her, music divine.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?

Someday maybe, but there are still people wanting to feel the “taste of the book”. I like both, but more and more people are using e-books . And besides, e-books are more compact and easy to carry than a book. And with the digital stuff in e-books it is possible to create more things than in a book, like for example holograms, and so on.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

Arabian nights because I love the stories Sherazade tells to the sultan, and because is one of the most important books of the world which influences our way of seeing the world.

Lucian of Samostata’s true story because it’s a very advanced book, even today with their creatures and the idea of Moon and, finally, Charles Nodier’s Infernaliana, one of best scary books ever written. Some stories make me beg for more, one of my favourites is the “Devil pact”.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

My name is Samir Karimo, and besides of being a translator, I’m also a writer. This book SOBRENATURAL is my first English book which was written almost at the same time that in Portuguese and Spanish also. I usually write in Portuguese to BABELICUS EM PORTUGUÊS  and in Spanish and English to MINATURA. I also collaborate with DEMENCIA magazine and WAX MAGAZINE, both in Spanish . And I’m also a comic screenwriter to a comic magazine called H-ALT where by September it will publish my first story.

My first stories appeared at FENIZ FANZINE  in Spanish in 2013. But I published my first Portuguese  poems in late 1998.

I like to create strange situations with strange characters…. like Kafka

 

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

Sobrenatural (supernatural surrealistical scary stories ), a small anthology of flash stories and tales where the reader will find famous characters in strange situations. Imagine yourself having a dream where nothing is what it seems, when you find space vampires and their connection to dinosaur’s extinction, killing noses and other alien creatures. Imagine if D.Juan would go to paradise or, finally, would find peace. Also imagine Oscar Wilde as an attorney or Dulcinea having a relationship with a snake….  And imagine a character called INTRODUCTION, and a FUN GOD falling in love by a cyborg woman in Harlequin Carnavalin.

Finally, the book cover was done my the ESFS Awards winner’ JUAN MIGUEL AGUILERA

Links

For United States

Amazon

For United Kingdom

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/sobrenatural-supernatural-surrealistical-scary-stories-ebook/dp/B07262DJFX

 

Social media

https://www.facebook.com/samir.karimo

https://www.facebook.com/sksobrenatural/

 

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Book Spotlight – How to Trust Your Human – Animals/Kids/Social Issues

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Title: How To Trust Your Human

Author: Victoria Zigler

Genres: Children’s Stories – Animals / Children’s Stories – Social Issues – Death And Dying

Main character description (short).

“Buddy is a degu, which is a kind of rodent closely related to guinea pigs, with an appearance that resembles a furry-tailed rat.”

Synopsis:

“Losing a sibling is hard. Losing three of them is even harder. Repairing a broken bond of trust is harder still.

After his three brothers disappeared, one after another, gone to a mysterious place known only as The Rainbow Bridge, Buddy the degu is all alone in his cage. Confused and frightened, he knows only one thing for certain: he last saw his brothers in the hands of the human caretaker. That knowledge breaks the bond of trust forged between Buddy and his human in the years since he was a pup, and leaves him convinced that letting her get her hands on him will mean he disappears too. Somehow, she has to convince him he’s wrong, and earn back his trust.

Based on actual events that took place in the life of one of the author’s own degus, and told from the point of view of a degu, this is the story of how patience and love taught a confused and terrified rodent how to trust again.”

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“I was starting to relax, and no longer running to hide when my cage door opened.

Then, one day, one of the human caretakers held her hand out in my direction, and appeared to be waiting for something.

As you might imagine, I was immediately suspicious – not to mention back to being absolutely terrified – so I rushed off to hide, watching the hand closely, even as I cowered behind the wheel at the opposite end of the cage.  I was literally trembling from nose to tail, wondering what she was up to, and if it was finally time for them to make me disappear like my brothers.

I thought the hand would follow me, and at least make an attempt at grabbing me.  But it didn’t move even the slightest amount.

I watched and waited for a very long time.

Still the hand didn’t move.

My trembling stopped, but I continued to stay in my hiding spot, watching the hand to see what it was going to do.

Nothing happened; the hand still didn’t move.

After a while, my curiosity got the better of me.  Look, I might have been terrified, but we degus are curious creatures, and there’s only so long I could resist the urge to find out what the hand was doing.  So, I cautiously crept closer, ready to bolt back to my hiding spot at the first sign of danger.”

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

“It’s a story about how a little love goes a long way, and how pets have feelings too.  If you’re an animal lover, or you have children who love animals, this book is for you, especially if you’re in a situation where you have a pet who is suffering after losing his or her furry companion.”

 

Links etc.

Find the book on…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35160154-how-to-trust-your-human

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/724848

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-trust-your-human-victoria-zigler/1126412328

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/do/book/how-to-trust-your-human/id1237703591?l=en&mt=11

Available in paperback soon!

 

Author bio:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time, such as doing crafts, listening to music, watching movies, playing the odd figure game or roleplaying game, and doing a little cooking and baking. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Author links:

Author’s Website

Victoria on goodreads

Facebook page

Twitter

How To Trust Your Human Cover 1 - 1600x2400

Smashwords Summer Sale 1-31st July #Fantasy #Booksale

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It’s that time of year again! Smashwords are having another sale.

This year I am offering the following in the sale at 50% discount with code SSW50.

(Please note the Light Beyond the Storm, Shining Citadel and Stolen Tower are 18 rated for sexy scenes, themes and some violence).

Shattered Mirror – A Poetry Collection  

Now $1.50

shatteredmirror

 

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I 

Now $1.50

The Shining Citadel

Now $1.75

lightbeyondstormbanner

The Stolen Tower

Now $1.62

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And Free!

Tales of Erana: Just One Mistake  

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends

Tales of Erana Series

Book Spotlight – Anthem of the Sea – M/M Romance

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anthemofthesea-outnow[113568]

Out Now—ANTHEM OF THE SEA By Thom Collins (@thomwolf @realthomcollins)

Blurb:

An ocean of possibility. For love, revenge and murder.

Daniel Blake, a handsome young singer, boards the Atlantic Anthem in Portugal for the final voyage of her maiden season. The state-of-the-art ship is the jewel in the Royal Atlantic cruise fleet. For Daniel, a one-time boy band member and TV talent show winner, it’s an honor to perform aboard such a vessel. Daniel loves the freedom and adventure of the sea. He began his solo career as a cruise ship entertainer and returning to the ocean as a headline act brings him full circle. He isn’t looking for love.

Neither is comedian Elijah Mann. Working at sea has given Elijah’s career the boost it desperately needed. Often considered too good-looking and sexy to be funny, work has been hard to come by since his TV show was canceled. With a potential new career opening up, he must remain focused. But when Elijah meets Daniel the attraction is mutual and instant. As the ship sets sail for England they have three days to get to know each other. Elijah can’t let that opportunity pass.

The voyage home is far from smooth. Also on board is a figure from Daniel’s past. A man who’s been holding a grudge for years, waiting for his moment. As a storm builds in the North Atlantic, Daniel and Elijah discover that the trip of a lifetime could be their last.

LINKS:

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/anthem-of-the-sea

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2rvgeTr

Amazon USA: http://amzn.to/2rh1Bnt

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/anthem-of-the-sea

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anthem-of-the-sea-thom-collins/1126384702?ean=9781786515681

 

EXCERPT:

The taxi collected Daniel Blake from the hotel on time. He liked that. Punctuality, efficiency and professionalism—three things he valued in all areas of his career. Be on time and be prepared—that had been his motto since he was fourteen years old. Fifteen years later, he continued to live by it.

He helped the driver load his gear into the trunk. There wasn’t much of it. When on the road, he traveled light with just a medium-sized case, a holdall and a suit carrier. He’d arrived in Lisbon the previous morning, disembarking from a cruise ship, where he’d performed for two nights. His shirts would need washing and his suit pressing before his next show. There was plenty of time.

He gave the driver directions to his designated cruise terminal and climbed onto the back seat. Thankfully, the air conditioning was running. Though it was late October, the outside temperature remained in the mid-eighties and it wasn’t even eleven o’clock. Last night he had heard some of the hotel staff complain about the weather turning cold, but for a boy like him, born and raised in the northeast of England, these climates were well above average. Back home, this would be a hot day in June or July.

It was a short drive to the port. Early in the day, but the streets were busy. Three massive cruise ships were anchored in the harbor, discharging thousands of eager tourists into the city. British, American, German, Japanese, they scurried through the streets, clutching backpacks and maps, keen to explore as much as they could of the historic Portuguese city in the few hours they had here.

Daniel smiled at their faces as they zipped by.

Lisbon, his last stop before home.

The car arrived at the port and within ten minutes Daniel stood beside the gangway with his luggage, waiting for the necessary security calls to be made that would allow him to board the ship. The enormous vessel towered above him, casting a huge shadow across the dock. The Atlantic was one of the biggest and most spectacular cruise ships in the world.

There were a lot of criticisms for super ships such as this. He’d heard them described as floating shopping malls, grotesque monstrosities and budget hotels at sea, but for Daniel there was something quite majestic about the craft and its design, to say nothing of the engineering that went into the construction of such a huge vessel.

“Those things are so top heavy,” a jobbing magician once had told him in a bar. “I hear they roll right over in high seas.”

Daniel had laughed at the man’s ignorance. “And when did you last hear of that happening?”

The man had floundered. “I’m just saying that something so uneven can’t be safe, can it? You won’t ever catch me on one of them things. Mug’s game, isn’t it?”

“It’s your loss,” Daniel had told him cheerily. He felt safer at sea, even in the roughest weather, than he ever had on a plane. Motorways too. It might not be the quickest, but without a doubt it was the most luxurious and extravagant way to travel. He loved being at sea.

Waiting for the security guy to return with his passport, Daniel realized he’d drawn some attention.

A slow stream of passengers was returning to the ship. They couldn’t have seen much of Lisbon, coming back already. Among them was an English family. While the parents lit cigarettes before joining the embarkation queue, the daughter, who looked around fourteen, stared directly at him.

“Hi.” He smiled. “Good day out?”

The girl was plump and pretty with wavy brown hair that fell around her shoulders. She wore a sweet, flowery sundress and red Converse shoes. She blushed as she realized she’d been caught gawking.

“Are you…? Oh, my God, you are, aren’t you? You’re Daniel Blake.”

He raised his hands in mock surrender. “Guilty as charged. Don’t shoot me.”

The girl nervously stepped forward, looking at him with wide, hazel eyes. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m waiting to join the ship. I’m performing on board.”

Her jaw fell. “The Anthem? You’re coming on the Anthem?

He nodded. He didn’t mind being recognized like this. Daniel was famous enough in the UK, but not so much that it ever became an inconvenience. His fame came from a TV talent show. The public had made him and he appreciated all the support he got.

“Oh my God.” The girl’s face became highly animated. “Mam! Dad! Come here. Oh my God, you won’t believe it. Daniel Blake. It’s actually him.”

Her bemused parents stubbed out their cigarettes and came over. They were an attractive-looking couple of around forty. The girl looked a lot like her father.

“I hope she’s not bothering you,” the dad said, looking cautiously between Daniel and his daughter.

“Not a bit,” Daniel assured him. “It’s a pleasure.”

“Daniel is going to be singing on the ship. Can you believe it? How cool is that?” She grinned a mile wide.

“Starting tomorrow,” he said. “Make certain you get yourselves a great seat down front. I can use all the support I can get.”

“I will, I will. I voted for you every week on The One. You were my favorite from the start.”

“So it’s you I need to thank for winning. What’s your name, sweetie?”

“Julieann.”

“Well, thank you, Julieann. Your votes changed my life.”

The girl blushed violently.

The security officer came back to escort Daniel onto the ship. Before boarding, he posed for photographs with Julieann and her family.

“The girls at school will have a fit when they see these on Instagram,” Julieann said proudly as they took a selfie together.

“See you at the shows,” Daniel said as he walked on board. “And don’t forget—front row. Be there. I’ll look out for you.”

“We’ll definitely be there.”

Once on board, he passed his luggage through the security scanner and was equipped with his sea pass ID, the plastic card that would enable him to move around the ship, access his accommodation and run a tab in the bars and shops. He was greeted on the far side of security by a young woman in a blue shirt and khaki shorts. Her soft blonde hair was tied back from her round, attractive face. She was vaguely familiar from his engagement earlier in the season. He checked her name badge to refresh his memory. Belle Hodges, entertainment crew, from South Australia.

“Hi,” Belle said cheerily. “It’s wonderful to have you back on board.”

She extended her hand and he shook it. “It’s great to be back. Honestly, I’ve been looking forward to this since I left in May. How has your maiden season gone?”

“Over too quickly and totally ace. I can’t believe it’s been that long since you were here. Yikes, the time has flown. Let me give you a hand with your stuff.”

“That’s okay. I can manage. Just point me in the right direction and I’ll find my way.”

Ignoring his protests, Belle took up the suit carrier.

“You’re in real luck,” she said. “You’ve been allocated a large stateroom on one of the passenger decks. Balcony and all.”

“You’re joking? Wow. Am I sharing with the house band or a football team?”

Belle giggled, wrinkling her nose. “Silly. You’ve got the whole place to yourself.”

“Seriously? What gives? I never get accommodation like that.”

Belle looked around cautiously and lowered her voice. “We had a family thrown off the ship in Gran Canaria so you’ve got their room. They caused a fight in the martini bar and punched an officer who tried to intervene. Captain Rassimov put them off at the next port. No second chances.”

“Good to know we’re in such firm hands.”

“Captain Rassimov is the best,” Belle gushed.

Daniel didn’t doubt it. He’d met the dashing captain on his last trip. Tall, dark, handsome and extremely charismatic, he sent hearts beating fast among the passengers and crew. If he wasn’t so straight, Daniel would fancy him too. Rassimov was the perfect man to master such a grand vessel.

Launched in May, with a rumored cost of over one-point-five billion, the Atlantic Anthem was coming to the end of its inaugural European season. It was the newest and biggest vessel in the Royal Atlantic fleet. Daniel had spent two nights on board when he’d performed a headline set on the maiden voyage. He’d worked for cruise companies all over the world, but he couldn’t fail to be impressed by the Anthem. It was billed as the ship with everything. From his own experience that was certainly true.

As he walked through the decks with Belle, his sense of excitement increased. The interior was truly splendid. Not a penny had been spared, from the lush carpets to the paintings and sculptures that graced every deck. Before coming on board, he’d read all the specs—about the spa and fitness center, two swimming pools and a solarium, the Royal Theater with nine-hundred-sixty seats, the bars—eight of them across the ship—the main dining room plus three specialty restaurants and a twenty-four-hour café. Several public entertainment areas were situated on Decks Four and Five around a jaw-dropping central staircase. Knowing all of that in advance, he still had been blown away when he’d came upon the ship for the first time. And he felt it now, all over again.

Only the most jaded, spoiled and hard-to-please traveler could fail to be inspired by the Anthem.

They rode one of the glass elevators to the tenth floor where Belle led him down a long corridor to his stateroom in the forward section of the ship.

“Last time, I had an interior cabin in the crew quarters.” He laughed.

“Yep, that’s where they like to cram us in. But now you’ve got this.”

Daniel swiped his sea pass card to enter the room. A major step up from crew class, the room was bright and contemporary, to the standard of any good hotel. He had an enormous double bed all to himself and a sitting area with a long, cream leather sofa. There was a dressing table, minibar, TV, private bathroom and balcony.

“I hope I don’t get lost in here,” he joked, dumping his luggage by the wardrobe.

“As long as you’re on stage for your shows tomorrow night, no one will mind what you get up to in here,” Belle said.

“You can put your mind at ease on that count,” he said. “I’ve been performing since I was fourteen and I’ve never missed a show in my life.”

Belle left him to settle in. Daniel unpacked his clothes first and filled a plastic bag with stuff that needed washing immediately—shirts, socks and underwear. Another great thing about working on a luxury cruise liner—everything was to hand. If he left the bag out today, all the items would be washed, ironed and returned by tomorrow.

He went into the bathroom next, laying out his razor, toothbrush and skincare products. He brought everything with him when he traveled. Though he wasn’t particularly vain, it was important to look good in public.

He didn’t have to worry. At twenty-nine years old—five months shy of thirty—he was in prime condition. He’d never looked better. For years he used to hate the way he looked. Everything about him had been out of proportion, especially his face. Eyes, teeth, nose, chin, they were always too big. But throughout his twenties, the rest of his body had caught up. He’d filled out and gained muscle and his face, which had seemed so awkward in his teens, had developed an extraordinary handsomeness. He had a strong jaw with a cowboy cleft, while his mouth was wide and masculine. With sky-blue eyes and thick brown hair, he had become a good-looking man. Very good-looking.

His confidence hadn’t grown to match his looks. A part of him would always be that skinny, peculiar kid. But only he could see it.

Finally unpacked, he relaxed and walked onto the balcony. He had a great view of the city and the people below, streaming like ants around the port terminals. Daniel took a moment to enjoy it all. He loved just about every part of the cruise experience.

Every ship, every voyage, was a new adventure.

The Atlantic Anthem promised a greater adventure than any other.

He couldn’t wait to get started.

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

The novellas Gods of Vengeance and Silent Voices were published by Pride in early 2017, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is working on the third.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links:

Blog: http://www.thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:   @thomwolf     and  @realthomcollins

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

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